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Big Blue

Summer car rental part 1

Well, this past weekend I have dropped W2.0 and the girls off with their grandparents and returned to England to have our upstairs bathrooms ripped out. So they had 6 weeks of luggage, 2 child seats and some toys. I rented an exec estate and should have had a C-Class estate. I got upgraded to an A6 Avant 2.0 Ultra. This annoyed my teenaged nephew as his mum has just taken delivery of one, albeit hers a 3.0TDi ex-demo fully loaded beyond human understanding.







Not much I can say about the A6 that most others don't already know. Probably one of the nicer interiors and the MMI was very familiar to me as a former A8 owner. This car was pretty loaded as well so all the gear and being a rental car I had no idea. What was notable was that W2.0 was delighted to sit in a new Audi and took the opportunity to advise me that it was nicer inside than the Schreibmaschine. She's not wrong. This is a superb way to cruise across Europe at 150+ kph whilst engaging with the family.



Things of note were the MMI functionality and the display in the dials. Astounding good and simple to use, but then I assume all the big execs (5er, E Class, GS Lexus) do all this nowadays. In fact everything about it is easy to use, from the powered tailgate (faster than mine) to the on board computer, which is comprehensive and detailed. It was also fleet of foot for a massive estate that has a 2litre engine it. As for fuel economy, I averaged 40.2mpg (nice to be able to mix and match measurements on the computer) which included some 190kph stints on the way back to Schwechat and is frankly astounding to a petrolhead like me. This is why diseasal is so popular for mile crushers, regardless of any price differentials.

Every time I drive a new car of this class I realise that mine is old in terms of the technology that supports the driver convenience and comfort. This always makes me look in the coffers and see if I can justify buying one. I hardly do any mileage so the answer is always "no" but if we start crossing continents more often by car (as I would like) then I could probably say yes to a newer Alpina B5 Touring.

Why not the A6 then, if it's so good? I hear you cry. Well when I got back into the Alpina at Heathrow last night I reversed out of the 4th floor parking space and turned the steering wheel to get into the lane to leave the car park. Ah, I thought, the front wheels of my car appear to be connected to the steering device in the cabin. Now I'm no Troy Queef but fuck me, that A6 was so remote from the road in terms of steering that I might have been piloting a hovercraft. This is fine when you cross continents on roads that are made for just setting the cruise control on and leaving it there whilst you tell the kids off or watch them all fall asleep but for the few bits of driving when you want to put the car precisely on the apex of a turn, attack an empty roundabout like the Loews hairpin into the tunnel section of Monaco or simply flow down a French D road through Provence it's not what you want.

Lovely car and no doubt there are variants that steer better but probably ride worse (this one rode extremely well, but the comparator is a 14 year old Alpina B10 so I should hope it felt better) and if I did 12k+ miles a year or drove to work every day I could see the appeal without any caveats as long as the R1 was in the garage. At present, not for me but an excellent car nevertheless.

Oh yeah, that silver dash trim. Utter shit. No other words for it. Felt like it came off a Chinese market toy. Nothing will ever convince me that silvery inserts look anything other than the poverty option.
gonnabuildabuggy

Re: Summer car rental part 1

Big Blue wrote:


Every time I drive a new car of this class I realise that mine is old in terms of the technology that supports the driver convenience and comfort. This always makes me look in the coffers and see if I can justify buying one. I hardly do any mileage so the answer is always "no" but if we start crossing continents more often by car (as I would like) then I could probably say yes to a newer Alpina B5 Touring.

Why not the A6 then, if it's so good? I hear you cry. Well when I got back into the Alpina at Heathrow last night I reversed out of the 4th floor parking space and turned the steering wheel to get into the lane to leave the car park. Ah, I thought, the front wheels of my car appear to be connected to the steering device in the cabin. Now I'm no Troy Queef but fuck me, that A6 was so remote from the road in terms of steering that I might have been piloting a hovercraft.

Oh yeah, that silver dash trim. Utter shit. No other words for it. Felt like it came off a Chinese market toy. Nothing will ever convince me that silvery inserts look anything other than the poverty option.


Matches my thoughts/views too.

Great car to travel in but of no real interest to me unless the letter S appear before the 6 somewhere.

One of the joys of the Mini is the steering feel and I've concluded that as a driving tool my old E39 was streets ahead of the E500.  

Where the E did win was the toy count though, and same as you, I don't drive enough to worry about it.  I miss the Sat Nav for having instant map access but both cars have bluetooth and ability to play music from iPods so thats sufficient.

And silver trim is hateful. Not sporty, hateful.

Any interior should be Wood trimmed ideally.
Racing Teatray

So glad I am not alone in my view that silver trim is usually an abomination.
Big Blue

I think we three should gang up on Martin, steal his car and take it to Alpina for a wood trim upgrade.

Yes, Martin:  UPGRADE
Martin

Upgrade?    

It was my choice and I don't regret it for a second.   I could have had wood, but it wouldn't have gone as well with the black leather.   I don't dislike all wood, some is vile, but I loved the trim in the 520d (Anthracite Bamboo High Gloss), it went really well with the Cream Beige seats.   It also depends on the car, a Porsche with wood looks ridiculous, but an XJ wouldn't be right without it.  The Aluminium trim in Audis looks poor quality in comparison with the brushed aluminium in mine.

As for the steering, the A6 is particularly lacking in feel in comparison with other similar cars I've driven, but the 5 series is more the 'best of a bad bunch' than great, it's nowhere near as good as the 520d.  I'm sure I could get used to it, but having the Boxster makes than impossible.
Twelfth Monkey

I'll have to side with brushed aluminium too - mine looks great (IMO) and hasn't worn over the 100 or so months of ownership.  Mercifully wood wasn't an option, and I couldn't square using carbon fibre as trim - it's supposed to be about making things lighter...
Bob Sacamano

The proper brushed aluminium trim around the gearlever and across the front of the passenger was good on my A6 but I never understood why they then mixed that with silver plastic around the top of the steering cowl.
Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Racing Teatray wrote:
So glad I am not alone in my view that silver trim is usually an abomination.

No you're not alone - add me to the list
JohnC

If I had a choice, I would have taken the piano black or the black wood effect like my last car but when you buy used, such cars are rarer than hen's teeth. It then comes down to a choice between brushed aluminium (real metal, not plastic in my car) and other items like a sunroof, colour, adaptive suspension, upgraded stereo or heated seats. The trim would always come at the end of the list. Nice to have but not essential, unless I am speccing from new.
Martin

At least you got brushed aluminium, I really don't like the Hexagon trim, which looks even worse when it has a cheap looking blue plastic strip below.  My colleague with the new 520d SE has the standard trim and it's black plastic, which is really cheap looking.  The Boxster has grey plastic trim, which is mad when you think about how much was spent on the rest of the interior, with leather on most surfaces and the contrast stitching.  Thankfully there isn't much of it.
Alf McQueef

I like the nav screen between the dials - very clever - they need to make that bigger and lose the nasty main screen which looks bolted-on.

I assume these A6 Ultra 4 pot diesels are cheap on lease deals, as a few of my colleagues have them...
Big Blue

Alf McQueef wrote:
I like the nav screen between the dials - very clever - they need to make that bigger and lose the nasty main screen which looks bolted-on. ..


The in-dial nav is just one of the displays you can have in there. The screen is also retracting (like the A8) so slides away into the dash.
PG

Real metal trim is OK. But I never understood the car industry's sudden fascination with silver plastic. Perhaps all the designers are too young to remember that silver plastic is for ever inexorably linked with cheap (and awful sounding) far-eastern audio equipment in the 1970's.
Racing Teatray

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
I'll have to side with brushed aluminium too - mine looks great (IMO) and hasn't worn over the 100 or so months of ownership.  Mercifully wood wasn't an option, and I couldn't square using carbon fibre as trim - it's supposed to be about making things lighter...


Wood was an option! My father's Avant had walnut and I have the brochure proving as much.
Twelfth Monkey

You've had me scurrying back to the brochure!  My first thought was 'was it a cost option', but nope - wood and piano black were both no-cost options.  Personally, I think the interior is already quite dark enough in black.

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